UBC Researchers: Potential New Therapy Approach for Hepatitis C

Open gateResearchers at the University of British Columbia have found a new way to block infection from the hepatitis C virus (HCV) in the liver that could lead to new therapies for those affected by this and other infectious diseases.

More than 170 million people worldwide live with hepatitis C, the disease caused by chronic HCV infection. HCV affects the liver and is spread by blood-to-blood contact. There is currently no vaccine to prevent it and treatments are only moderately effective and can cause serious side effects.

“As HCV infects a person, it needs fat droplets in the liver to form new virus particles,” says François Jean, Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Scientific Director of the Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research (FINDER) at UBC. “In the process, it causes fat to accumulate in the liver and ultimately leads to chronic dysfunction of the organ.”

“HCV is constantly mutating, which makes it difficult to develop antiviral therapies that target the virus itself,” says Jean. “So we decided to take a new approach.”

Jean and his team developed an inhibitor that decreases the size of host fat droplets in liver cells and stops HCV from “taking residence,” multiplying and infecting other cells.

“Our approach would essentially block the lifecycle of the virus so that it cannot spread and cause further damage to the liver,” says Jean. The team’s method is detailed in the journal PLoS Pathogens, published online today.

Canaries in the Coal Mine: Women and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity [WEBINAR]

A free online event presented by the Canadian Women’s Health Network, in collaboration with National Network on Environments and Women’s Health and CIHR Team in Gender, Environment and Health

When: Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011 from 10:00-11:00 p.m. PST
Where: online
Presented by Geneviève Nadeau, doctoral student at University of Ottawa’s School of Political Studies
Moderated by Anne Rochon Ford, Executive Director of the Canadian Women’s Health Network
Presented in English with bilingual question period

An estimated 3 to 5 per cent of Canadians have developed sensitivities to chemicals in our day-to-day environment. Women constitute 60 to 80 per cent of people suffering from these multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). What are the potential gendered components of this contested health issue, and how do they echo broader conversations related to women’s health and environmental health policy in Canada?

Geneviève Nadeau conducted a critical review of MCS-related literature in the social sciences in the context of a scholarship of the CIHR Team in Gender, Environment and Health. She offers insight on some multifaceted dimensions of MCS related to the health of Canadian women. Nadeau will answer questions in English and French after her talk.

Can’t attend? Email admin@cwhn.ca to request a reminder when we post the webinar recording.

Production of this event has been made possible through a financial contribution from Health Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

UBC Chronic Pain Needs Assessment Survey

Rock face - YosemiteThe Canadian Institute for Relief of Pain and Disability (CIRPD) is collaborating with partners at the University of British Columbia to promote the Chronic Pain Needs Assessment Survey. They are seeking input from people with chronic or persistent pain. By completing this online survey you can help define the tools and information most urgently needed by people suffering from chronic pain. The survey takes approximately 20-25 minutes to finish. If you have not already participated, we encourage you to do so and help shape the tools and resources available in future.

Over 200 Canadians have already responded. Join the conversation and let researchers, organizations and health professionals know what resources you need for your pain management!

Take the survey and pass the link on to others who suffer from pain as well: http://www.cirpd.org/GetInvolved/PainSurvey/Pages/CIRPDSurvey-org.aspx . Thank you!